Cosmic Fingerprint

The clearest picture yet of the Big Bang's echoes yields five numbers that explain the universe

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That's not to say that WMAP has answered every question. Nobody knows what dark matter and dark energy are, and the theory of inflation, while strengthened, is far from proved. Beyond that, there are some strange measurements in WMAP's data that might be mere statistical flukes--or might point to some major monkey wrench that could still throw cosmology into turmoil. "We should know better after we get in more data," says Charles Bennett of the Goddard Space Flight Center, who is the WMAP team leader.

But cosmologists won't be sitting around waiting. "You're going to see a thousand papers based on these results," says Tegmark, who is already working on several. "It's an exciting time to be in this field."

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